Makes 2 dozen.

Note: To get the proper texture, do not use an electric mixer. You do not need to sift the flour, but spoon the flour into the measuring cup so as not to pack it down too much. Use the spoon handle to brush away extra flour and thereby "level" the top of the measuring cup.

• 2 sticks unsalted butter (plus more for greasing the pan)

• 1 lb. (2 c. firmly packed) light brown sugar

• 2 tsp. baking powder

• 1/4tsp. salt

• 1 tsp. vanilla extract

• 2 c. flour (see Note)

• 2 eggs

• 1 c. semisweet chocolate chips

• 1 c. chopped pecans, optional


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9- by 13-inch baking pan well with butter. Set pan aside.

Melt the 2 sticks of butter in a 2-quart microwave-safe bowl covered with a paper towel. Remove the bowl from microwave, and add the brown sugar. Stir well. Add the baking powder, salt and vanilla extract, stirring until completely incorporated. Stir in the flour, again stirring until it is well mixed. The batter will be very stiff.

Crack the eggs into a small bowl, and beat them well with a fork or whisk. Add the eggs to the batter and stir with a spoon until they are completely incorporated. Stir in the chocolate chips (and the nuts, if using).

Spread the batter in the greased pan. The batter will be stiff and sticky. You may have to spread it to the edges of the pan with the back of a spoon, but don't worry too much about getting it exactly even, as the batter will spread as it bakes.

Bake until the top begins to get golden brown and the blondies just begin to pull away from the sides of the pan, about 20 to 25 minutes. (Baking time will vary depending on your oven and the type of pan.) Do not overbake!

Cool for at least 20 minutes, and cut into small squares. Store in an airtight container or cover well with plastic wrap. These bars freeze very well and improve in flavor after the first day.

Nutrition information per serving:

Calories 216 Fat 10 g Sodium 59 mg Saturated fat 6 g Carbohydrates 31 g Cholesterol 38 mg Protein 2 g Dietary fiber 1 g